New immersive classroom brings limitless potential to North Lanarkshire

Pupils in North Lanarkshire can now experience what it’s like to be in outer space, under the ocean, on a World War 1 battlefield or even on top of Everest thanks to a new learning initiative which is the first of its kind in the UK.

The project has become a reality after North Lanarkshire Council teamed up with BT to bring the first 5G-enabled immersive classroom to Scotland.

The new immersive classroom has been developed within the Muirfield Community Centre in Cumbernauld where a room has been transformed into an exciting and engaging learning environment.

The 360-degree room creates a digital projection which uses all four classroom walls and the ceiling to bring the real-world into an immersive experience for students. BT is making this immersive experience possible through its EE 5G network which brings ultrafast speeds and enhanced reliability for classrooms of the future.

With 5G’s greater bandwidth, students and educators can livestream virtually from any location with minimal disruption and connect many more devices than on previous networks. This means students can still enjoy a rich learning experience and not be disadvantaged by their location or by the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Carbrain Primary pupils were the first to dive into the new experience with an underwater lesson about the ocean.

A student from Cabrain Primary also said his favourite part was seeing the Northern Lights, a subject he studied at school: “I loved the colours, it was as if I were seeing them in real life!”. Another student enjoyed the Safari experience, saying “It was so cool to see the animals so close up.”

The concept aims to push beyond traditional methods of teaching to create an inclusive digital experience that helps explain abstract and challenging concepts through a 3D model. It will also have the potential to support students with learning difficulties in developing imagination, creative and critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

“The immersive classroom goes beyond the traditional classroom boundaries,” explained Councillor Frank McNally, Convener of Education and Families with North Lanarkshire Council.

“Its potential uses really are limitless and we hope that it can be used to engage pupils who are perhaps turned-off by traditional learning experiences as well as by local community groups for example historical societies.

“This project shows that North Lanarkshire is at the cutting edge in terms of technology and connectivity and demonstrates our commitment to providing our pupils with outstanding learning opportunities.”

Alan Lees, Director of BT’s Enterprise unit in Scotland, said: “Today’s announcement is just the start of an exciting journey in bringing the digital fabric to more communities across Scotland through innovative tech and ultrafast connectivity. By harnessing the power of 5G, we’ve been able to help transform education for students in North Lanarkshire, supporting aims to reduce the attainment gap. We know that technology can help to make education richer and more accessible for young people. We’re really excited to be partnering with the Council to use our ultrafast 5G network to provide a UK first in education, right here in Scotland.

“Our Skills for Tomorrow programme aims to give 10 million people and businesses the skills they need to thrive in a digital world. We’ll continue to deliver innovative solutions through our unique partnerships to help our customers and society take full advantage of cutting-edge technologies.”

About BT

BT Group is the UK’s leading telecommunications and network provider and a leading provider of global communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities in the UK include the provision of fixed voice, mobile, broadband and TV (including Sport) and a range of products and services over converged fixed and mobile networks to consumer, business and public sector customers. For its global customers, BT provides managed services, security and network and IT infrastructure services to support their operations all over the world. BT consists of four customer-facing units: Consumer, Enterprise, Global and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Openreach, which provides access network services to over 650 communications provider customers who sell phone, broadband and Ethernet services to homes and businesses across the UK.

For the year ended 31 March 2020, BT Group’s reported revenue was £22,905m with reported profit before taxation of £2,353m.

British Telecommunications plc is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

For more information, visit www.bt.com/about